Tips on startup cash

Tips on startup cash

As an entrepreneur I am well aware that managing your cash flow in the early days of a business startup can be challenging. Not everyone has the comfort of a generous investor who provides a safety net, and those that don’t have sufficient liquidity need to take a ‘bootstrapping’ approach. This has saved many a new business from failing before it has barely begun and in my opinion, if you can rescue your business by yourself, you will be better prepared for what lies ahead. Therefore, I have put together 8 tips about the various ways in which you can bootstrap your business.

  1. Generate cash quickly

A business model that has the potential to generate cash rapidly is most likely to succeed if you’re bootstrapping and relying on your own finances. Not all business models will do this, so from the outset look at how you can bring cash in from the start.

  1. Watch your expenditure

Open a business bank account at the first opportunity. Using your personal bank account is risky because it is harder to keep track of incoming funds and outgoings. Discipline yourself to watch where cash goes and what demands more of it and when. There are free tools available that track spending and you should be monitoring your expenditure on a daily basis.

  1. Reduce personal spending

This is just common sense. You may have your own business but that doesn’t mean you can immediately start living the high life. You don’t have a salary as such, so think very hard about every purchase and only buy what is absolutely necessary. If possible, look at other ways to save money, such as reducing your rent by sharing with a friend.

  1. Do the job yourself

It would be lovely to outsource some tasks, but this is both an unnecessary expense and one that stops you from learning more about your business.

  1. Learn a new skill

This is related to the previous tip – if you don’t know how to perform a task that is required by your business, learn it rather than ask somebody else to do it. If you need to write code but have never done it before, now is the time to acquire the skill. You’ll save money and have a new skill.

  1. Learn the art of thrift

Apart from reducing personal spending, look at ways to reduce business expenditure. Make good use of all the freebies available, such as free versions of Dropbox and other online tools. Do you really need an office or can you work from home? Choose the latter first until you actually need to pay for premises.

  1. Invest in your website and business incorporation

This is one exception to the being thrifty tip. Make sure you use a respected incorporation service, because in the long term a shoddy service may come back to haunt you. Also, buy the web domain you want from Day One and build your brand around it from the start. It won’t cost less if you wait and you’ll miss the opportunity to establish your branding.

  1. Refuse to take ‘No’ for an answer

You might find that when you are small some suppliers don’t want to work with you. It’s essential that you build a personal relationship with these people, because by doing so you are more likely to get the service at a price you can afford. Tell them your story and what you are trying to achieve – appealing to people’s emotions is all part and parcel of running a business.

I can tell you that none of this is a walk in the park as they say, but if you follow these tips, the pay-off is considerable and you’re more likely to find you have a solid, long-term business.

I hope you enjoyed this and found it useful. Please subscribe to my blog if you’d like to receive an alert when I post new content.

 

 

 

Being Human at Work

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When our oldest child entered middle school we found it necessary to meet with his principal. At that time of course, school was his full-time job — and there were developing signs that it was the wrong job. As parents, we felt the need to discuss a strategy to address the job-person fit. To be frank, the over-riding goal was not to boost his grades, but to protect him as a developing individual.

As things stood, his role was clearly a frustrating exercise. Sadly, he was showing signs of complete exhaustion. One very astute teacher put it this way: “He actually has 7 bosses and they all want something a little different. That’s not an easy task.” I couldn’t have put it better. He was drowning in the midst of the demands he faced. None of this emphasized his strengths — only his clear weaknesses in the executive functioning realm.

Our son brought himself to his role as student. But more importantly, he was a human being that was faced with the learning environment as it was presented. We held no judgements as to what was “right” or “wrong” about that environment — only that his experience with that environment was both unique and challenging.

What we asked of his principal was quite simple: 1.) That he had an opportunity to explore/discover something that brought him feelings of competence and 2.) that he still loved (or at the very least, respected) the process of learning when he left her care. She was the needed glue to help him to sift through the noise and find the signals.

Being human at work poses a related challenge.

When you ponder your work life, what immediately comes to mind? Do you feel supported? Respected? Are you challenged? Are you developing in a manner that is meaningful? Are the unique qualities that define the positive foundation of you, a part of that work life? Or like our son, are you faced with poor job-person fit?

These may sound like unusual questions. But, they shouldn’t be.

When I discuss negative work experiences with clients, expressions of feeling “drained, “lost” or “frustrated” are mentioned. When we are fighting for the elements that uniquely define who we are, we suffer. Our employers may miss out on our strengths. Our customers do not benefit from our talents.

We wage a talent war that no one can win.

This realization drove me to take a step back.

What might help explain why this dynamic — that when ignored can become utterly devastating. I recalled humanistic psychology. A reaction to behaviorism and the tenets of psychoanalytic thought (made known by Freud), humanistic theory offers an interesting framework as we approach the job-person fit. Humanism explains that we posses a drive toward becoming self-actualized. In other words, a drive to maximize our creative potential. (This line of thought came to the forefront through the work of psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.)

Its direction and tenor could easily apply to work life:

  • When considering people — the whole is greater than than the sum of the parts.
  • There is a drive to achieve congruence between our “real self” and the “ideal self”.
  • Some measure of unconditional positive regard is necessary to fully develop as an individual.
  • An individual is greatly influenced by his/her environment. Social interaction is key to development.
  • We are fully aware and have the ability to make a conscious choice. Our past experienced help drive future behavior.
  • Human beings are uniquely capable of intentional thought and goal directed behaviors.

I wonder how we can build this respect for individuals into every organization. How might current trends in HR support this effort?

I know there are many of us fighting for this. Is one of them you?

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